The Lighthouse War,[a] also known as the Second Continental War[b] or Second Usean Continental War, was a large-scale conflict between the countries of Osea and Erusea on the continent of Usea. It is the main focus of the story campaign in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
The war officially began on May 15, 2019, as Erusea launched attacks on Osean home ports using container-launched UAVs and occupied most of the Usean continent in a surprise attack. After capturing the International Space Elevator, Erusea gained control of the two Arsenal Birds tasked with defending it, granting them air superiority. In response, the Osean Federation deployed its forces alongside the IUN.
The Oseans quickly discovered Erusea had set up a UAV auto-intercept system using a radar net spanning the length of the eastern front of the continent. Osea conscripted various criminals with flying experience to test the length of the radar net for vulnerabilities, creating penal units such as Spare Squadron. Finally discovering one, Osea created the Long Range Strategic Strike Group (LRSSG) to exploit the blind spot and carry out attacks within Erusean territory. With the help of the LRSSG, Osea used Stonehenge to shoot down an Arsenal Bird in mid-August, allowing Osean forces to advance further east.In early September, their advance was slowed when Captain Matias Torres rebelled against Erusea and threatened to use the Erusean submerisble aviation cruiser Alicorn to end the war himself by drastic measures. After dealing with the Alicorn, Osean forces continued pushing west towards Farbanti.
Concurrent with Farbanti's capture later that month, both Osea and Erusea's satellite networks were destroyed, throwing Usea into chaos and sparking civil war in Erusea. In late October, a coalition of Osean and Erusean forces shot down both Arsenal Bird Justice and later two highly advanced UAVs, recapturing the Lighthouse. In December, a ceasefire was signed at the Expo City Conference, officially ending the war.
In the early 2010s, Osea, with former President Vincent Harling spearheading the effort, reached an agreement with the various Usean nations for the construction of the International Space Elevator in the Gunther region to supply energy to countries on the continent devastated by Ulysses 1994XF04 and the Continental War of 2003-2005. As part of the agreement, Osean military and IUN forces in the form of aircraft and naval warships were stationed on the continent to protect the structure. The Arsenal Bird aerial warships were also developed for this purpose and deployed to the airspace surrounding the elevator.
In the late 2010s, anti-Osean sentiment grew amongst those in the Erusean military, who believed Osea had constructed the International Space Elevator in order to expand its influence over the Usean continent. Young Erusean officers within the Radicals managed to convince Erusean Princess Rosa Cossette D'Elise that these were Osea's intentions as well, spreading their views of Osea to the Erusean Royal Family.
Outbreak of war
On May 15, 2019, Erusea declared war on Osea and simultaneously seized the Space Elevator soon after Erusean MQ-99 drones, secretly delivered to Osea in shipping containers, launched and attacked naval ports in Aulick, St. Hewlett, Bana City, and Oured, crippling the majority of Osea's naval forces, including their docked aircraft carriers. Simultaneously, Erusean bombers attacked Osean and IUN-PKF bases all across Usea as far east as Fort Grays Island.
Concurrent with the Erusean attacks, the Osean Maritime Defense Force quickly responded by striking against the Erusean capital of Farbanti from the aircraft carrier Kestrel II, dealing severe damage to the city, including to residential areas, turning public opinion in neutral countries against Osea.
Following the failed Farbanti assault, the Executive Office of the Osean Federation ordered the Osean Defense Forces and the IUN-PKF to begin preparations for a counterattack. Shortly after the announcement at Bright Hill, the IUN commenced Operation Eastern Wind, where they recaptured the airfield at Scofields Plateau.
On May 30, 2019, the IUN and Osean military launched a two-front offensive comprised of Operation Dual Wielder and a second Farbanti assault. Ultimately, Erusea was able to repel the attack at Farbanti and maintained control over the Chopinburg Rainforest by using an Arsenal Bird.
Despite Erusea successfully repelling all IUN counterattacks, the IUN managed to retain a hold in southeast Usea. A series of attacks launched by Spare Squadron, an Osean penal unit based at Zapland, helped cripple Erusean air defenses and logistics, as well as to test the Erusean drones' auto-intercept system for weaknesses. During these operations, the Osean forces were introduced to the Erusean ace Mihaly A. Shilage, who was dubbed "Mister X" by the Osean forces. Mihaly's purpose was to improve the Erusean drone program by providing flight data to the Erusean Air and Space Administration (EASA), a program headed by Gründer Industries scientist Doctor Schroeder, but Osean pilots learned to fear him due to his unmatched combat powerss. Eventually, after finding a weakness in the Erusean radar net, the Oseans grouped several surviving squadrons as well as transfers from Spare into the Long Range Strategic Strike Group (LRSSG). The LRSSG would launch a surprise attack on Erusean naval forces in reserve at Snider's Top, decimating Erusea's naval power, and gradually turned the tide. The LRSSG would go on to defend Stonehenge in an Osean effort to use it to shoot down the Arsenal Bird Liberty, which succeeded, destroying the first Arsenal Bird. By this point in the war, the flight lead Trigger of Strider Squadron, one of the two squadrons comprising the LRSSG, became known as "Three Strikes", owing to the three scratches on his tail, a memorial to his time in Spare Squadron. Three Strikes was a morale-boosting ace that the Eruseans greatly feared, becoming a rival to Mihaly in his own right. Desperately trying to regain the initiative after losing Liberty, Erusea attempted to activate a ballistic missile base in Sierraplata, but the LRSSG prevented Erusea from launching its IRBMs on September 2.
The Hunt for the Alicorn
On August 11th, one day after losing their Njord Fleet at Snider's Top, Erusea commissioned the submersible aviation cruiser Alicorn into service in a desperate attempt to bolster their remaining naval power, assigning Captain Matias Torres to be its commander. A former Yuktobanian submarine superweapon, the Alicorn possessed the potential for weapons of mass destruction to be carried and was a huge threat to Osean operations. On September 4, Osea's Brigadier General Howard Clemens arranged an operation with the LRSSG and an OMDF landing fleet, with the aid of intelligence analyst David North to capture the Alicorn as it was docked in Artiglio Port, which had been mostly destroyed by an earlier air operation.
At this point in the war, however, Osea's top brass were debating on whether Trigger was truly necessary to win the war, and the possibility he may turn on them following the end of the war. Knowing this, Clemens arranged to have Trigger assassinated, and hired assassins Otto and Elke van Dalsen, collectively the Mimic Squadron in order to ensure this result.
During the operation to capture the Alicorn, Mimic arrived and attempted to kill Trigger, but failed, retreating from the airspace. As the operation neared its conclusion and the landing fleet began its capture procedures, Captain Torres was ordered to scuttle the sub to prevent the Oseans from getting their hands on it. Torres defied the order, stating that as of that moment, the Alicorn was no longer under the jurisdiction of the Erusean military, formally rebelling against them. He left port and fired on the landing fleet using the Alicorn's powerful railguns, destroying the entire fleet. Osean forces were unable to prevent the submarine from escaping due to four sub-based aircraft being launched, the leader of which was carrying a large cruise missile believed to be a WMD. The Alicorn escaped, but the aircraft were shot down.
Six days later, on September 10, Clemens organized another air operation for the LRSSG. This time, a surprise attack on Anchorhead, as the Erusean navy gathered its remaining naval forces, including its mothball fleet, at the port. Clemens received word from an unknown source that the Alicorn would also be joining them. Strider Squadron sortied and carried out the raid, successfully destroying the port and the fleet stationed there, despite artillery strikes from the Alicorn making things difficult. During the operation, Clemens debated with the rest of the Osean top brass once again if Trigger was necessary and/or a danger to Osea. Giving status updates on Strider's progress regularly, the top brass concluded that Osea had great need for Trigger in order to win the war. At the end of the operation, as Strider prepared to withdraw, Mimic once again arrived to assassinate Trigger. Realizing this too late, Clemens called out to Mimic to cease combat and withdraw, to which Mimic refused and revealed their connection with him. Trigger shot down and killed both siblings, and Clemens was arrested by military police after David revealed his anonymous source was in fact Edgar Saxon, a former member of the Alicorn's crew, feeding him false information. This, coupled with Clemens' public communication with Mimic, lead to Clemens being charged with treason. After the operation was over, the Alicorn docked at the destroyed port and was loaded with tactical nuclear warheads by embedded agents that were former members of the crew. David concluded that Captain Torres' and the crew of the Alicorn's goal was to nuke the Osean capital, Oured.
Four days later, on the 14th of September, David and the LRSSG participated in Operation Fisherman, an air operation aimed at destroying the Alicorn once and for all. David calculated that the sub would pass through an area of the Spring Sea called PX80443 by cross-referencing Osean and Erusean sound surveillance systems and the maximum range of the Alicorn's main cannon, and the LRSSG, maritime patrol aircraft, and an OMDF fleet equipped with ASROCs sortied to the area. Dropping sonobuoys, the patrol aircraft detected the Alicorn, and an ASROC strike was coordinated against it, damaging the sub's ballast tanks and forcing it to surface. After a brutal battle, the sub's ballast tanks were completely destroyed, preventing it from diving. Seeing no other choice, Torres faked his and the crew's surrender, in order to give him time to load and prepare to fire the Alicorn's rail cannon. The ruse nearly succeeded, but Trigger damaged the cannon, dropping the angle of the barrel and jamming it into that position, leading to the shell landing just short of Oured in the Spring Sea. Torres engaged all remaining defenses and loaded his second and final nuclear railgun shell, ordering the aft trim tanks be flooded, causing the sub to sink aft first, causing the barrel of the cannon to rise. However, the cannon was destroyed by Trigger just before it could fire, causing an explosive chain reaction that destroyed the sub by splitting it in two, which sank beneath the waves and exploded. Victorious, the LRSSG returned to base.
End of the War
After dealing with the Alicorn, the LRSSG aided in the capture of an airbase at Cape Rainy. These efforts helped IUN and Osean forces lay siege to Farbanti in a large-scale battle. Mihaly appeared once again, this time in a last ditch effort to defend the capital, but he ultimately failed and Farbanti was captured.
Concurrently with the fall of Farbanti Osea fired anti-satellite missiles at Erusean satellites with Erusea retaliating with their own anti-satellite operation. The end result was a total blackout of the satellite and information network all across the globe and anarchy soon ensued across the entire Usean continent. The LRSSG would help shepherd Osean forces to safety as Erusea's government collapsed, fracturing between Radicals who wanted to continue the war, Conservatives who wanted to seek a negotiated truce or shut down Erusean UCAV capabilities, and breakaway regions who declared independence, including Mihaly's home country of Shilage.
In a last-ditch effort to continue the war, Erusean radicals sought to activate a series of programs that would continually produce UCAVs based at the ISEV and other locations. However, a rag-tag collection of Osean forces and civilian refugees, including Princess Rosa Cossette D'Elise stumbled on them while seeking refuge. When it became realized that the UCAVs were failing to respond to Erusean instructions, EASA personnel, including Doctor Schroeder, joined the Princess and the Oseans to call for aid in shutting down the factories. A coalition of surviving Osean and Erusean forces joined to face Erusean radicals at the ISEV who deployed the Arsenal Bird Justice and two ADF-11F Raven UCAVs in an effort to continue the war. Despite heavy losses, the coalition destroyed both the Justice and the Ravens, forcing the Erusean radicals to surrender.
After the war, the International Space Elevator returned to IUN control. However, as fighting continued, especially as Erusea's breakaway regions struggled to assert their independence, Osea allowed Rosa Cossette D'Elise to form a provisional government based at the Elevator to help maintain the efforts towards space development and aiding refugees who continued to seek refuge from the chaos of war.
- Cutscene 12: "Tyler Island", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 03: "Two-pronged Strategy", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Cutscene 02: "This Means War", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 04: "Rescue", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- SP Mission 03: "Ten Million Relief Plan", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- @AceCombatWiki (13 June 2018). "Here are the highest-quality scans from the #AceCombat section of the new Weekly Famitsu, courtesy of Tumblr user famigeki!". Twitter.
- File:AC7 Website Timeline.png.
- Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe [@BandaiNamcoEU] (14 June 2018). "Set on the Usean continent #AceCombat7SkiesUnknown’s story revolves around the Second Usean Continental War in 2019.". Twitter.
- Bandai Namco Entertainment UK [@BandaiNamcoUK] (15 June 2018). "New trailer for Ace Combat 7 to close out #E32018! The Second Usean Continental War rages on.". Twitter.
- Aces At War: A History 2019, page 145.
- Cutscene 11: "Offline", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Cutscene 16: "The New System", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 01: "Charge Assault", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 12: "Stonehenge Defensive", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- SP Mission 01: "Unexpected Visitor", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 14: "Cape Rainy Assault", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 15: "Battle for Farbanti", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 16: "Last Hope", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 19: "Lighthouse", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Aces At War: A History 2019, page 77.
- "「エースコンバット7」，ストーリーの導入部や最新スクリーンショットなどが公開。UGSFシリーズとの関連も明らかに" ["Ace Combat 7 story introduction and latest screenshots have been released. A clear connection to UGSF"]. 4gamer.net. Published on 21 June 2018. Retrieved on 21 June 2018.
- Mission 02: "Charge the Enemy", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 11: "Fleet Destruction", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 13: "Bunker Buster", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 17: "Homeward", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Mission 20: "Dark Blue", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.